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The underlying premise of this essay is the hypothesis that quality and significance of scientific research in any given society could be used as mirrors reflecting its true prosperity. By comparing the two cases of comparatively prosperous scientific management of South Korea and Slovenia, with the example of Serbia, illustrating the poor scientific and industrial productivity typically faced by the developing countries, a few general guidelines for the evolution of a society towards higher scientific and social prominence are outlined. It is argued that the most favourable pattern of growth should be based on the parallel progress in control of scientific policies on one side and the excellence of scientific and basic education on the other. The “leapfrog” tactics, according to which the less developed countries should learn from the natural cycle of alternate progressions and regressions that the developed countries experience, is especially highlighted. Applied research is demonstrated to be most productive when it is carried out on top of already established and prolific infrastructural and industrial bases. Examples are given in favour of the fact that the technological design and industrial solutions shown as successful in the context of a developed society, often turn out to be impractical and inefficient when straightforwardly transformed to less developed social settings. As a result, the strategy of adjustment of production capacities to local needs is advised to be considered when implementing a new technology on different social, political and economic grounds. Finally, it is concluded that to provide conditions for effective transfer and implementation of advanced know-how and novel technologies, embedment into international science and engineering networks is required as much as strong and sustainable local scientific and technological bases.


This article was originally published in Science, Technology, & Innovation Studies, volume 6, issue 1, in 2010.


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